February Birdie Songs: Lurchio, Get Me Banjo!
Posted on Feb 4th, 2010 by Alan @ 11:48 pm

I love mandolins and banjos. The brightness of their tone puts a smile on my face every single time I hear one, without fail. It’s possibly got something to do with a childhood memory of my grandad playing his banjo – although I only heard him play 2 or 3 times as he wasn’t the kind of guy who liked being the centre of attention. I’ve got no talent for string instruments myself, I learnt to play the mandolin part of Losing My Religion when I was a student and bought one of my own about 10 years ago, which to my shame I still can’t play.

Here are some of my favourite tracks featuring these glorious instruments – and posting this blog has inspired me to get the mandolin down from the attic and learn how to play it. Or at least play along with REM again.

Click here for the mix tape!


  • Porcupine Tree – Last Chance To Evacuate Planet Earth Before It Is Recycled (iLike) (buy)
  • Sufjan Stevens – The Upper Peninsula (iLike) (buy)
  • Eddie Vedder – Rise (iLike) (buy)
  • Yes – I’ve Seen All Good People (iLike) (buy)
  • REM – Losing My Religion (iLike) (buy)
  • Sufjan Stevens – Decatur, or, Round of Applause for Your Stepmother! (iLike) (buy)
  • Nickel Creek – When You Come Back Down (iLike) (buy)
  • Eddie Vedder – No Ceiling (iLike) (buy)
  • Rod Stewart – Mandolin Wind (iLike) (buy)
  • Sufjan Stevens – The Dress Looks Nice On You (iLike) (buy)
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    No-Man – Mixtaped
    Posted on Dec 5th, 2009 by Alan @ 2:04 am

    The Birdie Mix - December 2009

    What better way to blog about the release of the No-Man DVD “Mixtaped” than with a No-Man mixtape? I meant to do this back in August/September after going to the preview screening of the DVD (a documentary called “Mixtaped” on one disk, and a live show called “Returning” on the second disk) but as usual lack of time won the battle with my good intentions.

    Like a lot of people I came to No-Man through Porcupine Tree, and probably like a lot of people they were a slow-burner for me. Nowadays while Porcupine Tree excite me and I eagerly await every next release, I find I listen to No-Man just as much if not more than them.

    The documentary DVD is unusual in that with most bands if you like them enough to buy the DVD you probably know pretty much everything about them already. But No-Man have led such a low-key existence that it’s packed with surprises. Who would have thought, for example, that it was Tim Bowness and not Steven Wilson who had the sillier hair! Although Wilson does beat him in the daft hat stakes. There are a few gaps in it though, for example when talking about the One Little Indian years they mention that they would regret “what would come next” without saying exactly what it was.

    The live DVD is great, although I was a bit surprised that they “rocked up” their live sound. Never having seen or heard them live I’d always imagined more of a jazz club feel to their shows – having said that it’s a terrific performance and it is no surprise that they’re as tight as a gnat’s chuff.

    Check it out, and enjoy it.


    1. Walker (from the compilation “All The Blue Changes”)
    2. Break Heaven (from “Loveblows & Lovecries”)
    3. Things Change (from “Flowermouth”)
    4. Angeldust (from “Flowermouth”)
    5. Pretty Genius (from “Wild Opera”)
    6. Sweetside Silver Night (from “Dry Cleaning Ray”)
    7. Night Sky Sweet Earth (from “Speak”)
    8. Only Rain (from “Returning Jesus”)
    9. No Defence (from “Returning Jesus”)
    10. Back When You Were Beautiful (from “Together We’re Stranger”)
    11. All Sweet Things (from “Schoolyard Ghosts”)
    12. Truenorth (from “Schoolyard Ghosts”)

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    April Birdie Songs
    Posted on Apr 9th, 2009 by Alan @ 10:16 am

    The Birdie Mix - April 2009


    1. Tartan Specials – No Team GB (iLike) (buy)
    2. Simple Minds – Glittering Prize (iLike) (buy)
    3. Big Country – Fields Of Fire (iLike) (buy)
    4. Jackie Leven – My Spanish Dad (iLike) (buy)
    5. Blackfield – Summer (iLike) (buy)
    6. Elliott Smith – Junk Bond Trader (iLike) (buy)
    7. LEO – Ya Had Me Goin’ (iLike) (buy)
    8. Del Amitri – Driving With The Brakes On (iLike) (buy)
    9. Jellyfish – Bedspring Kiss (iLike) (buy)
    10. Pink Floyd – Coming Back To Life (iLike) (buy)

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    March Birdie Songs
    Posted on Mar 16th, 2009 by Alan @ 11:31 am

    The Birdie Mix - March 2009

    I make no secret of the fact that I like a bit of prog now and again. When it’s done right there’s nothing better… but of course when it’s not done right all the stereotypes are true. There is an awful lot of really really atrocious music in the genre. I won’t name and shame, they know who they are.

    So here are some of the good ‘uns, starting off with Genesis followed by the song that got Marillion pigeon-holed as a Genesis rip-off band. I never really heard the similarity other than a couple of exceptions – this one, which was only ever released as a B side (to their first single in 1982) and “Incommunicado” which I always thought was Marillion’s attempt at “Sussussussudio”. Or something.

    Then there’s a romp through some of my favourites from both prog’s salad days of the early 70s to the coffee and wafer thin mint days of the 21st century.

    Enjoy – I’m never going to do a 3 hour mix tape again!


    1. Genesis – Supper’s Ready (iLike) (buy)
    2. Marillion – Grendel (iLike) (buy)
    3. Pink Floyd – Echoes (iLike) (buy)
    4. Porcupine Tree – Moonloop (iLike) (buy)
    5. The Mars Volta – L’Via L’Viaquez (iLike) (buy)
    6. Rush – 2112 Overture / The Temples Of Syrinx (iLike) (buy)
    7. Marillion – This Strange Engine (iLike) (buy)
    8. Genesis – Firth Of Fifth (iLike) (buy)
    9. Yes – Heart of the Sunrise (iLike) (buy)
    10. Frost* – Milliontown (iLike) (buy)

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    February Birdie Songs
    Posted on Feb 11th, 2009 by Alan @ 11:38 am

    The Birdie Mix - February 2009


    1. Inspiral Carpets – Saturn 5 (iLike) (buy)
    2. REM – Don’t Go Back To Rockville (iLike) (buy)
    3. Elbow – Any Day Now (iLike) (buy)
    4. Porcupine Tree – The Rest Will Flow (iLike) (buy)
    5. Willard Grant Conspiracy – Flying Low (iLike) (buy)
    6. Elliott Smith – Independence Day (iLike) (buy)
    7. Bob Dylan – Like A Rolling Stone (iLike) (buy)
    8. Justin Currie – No, Surrender (iLike) (buy)
    9. Chris Difford – For A Change (iLike) (buy)
    10. Francis Dunnery – Hometown (iLike) (buy)

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    January Birdie Songs
    Posted on Jan 9th, 2009 by Alan @ 3:00 pm

    The Birdie Mix - January 2009


    1. New Radicals – Jehovah Made This Whole Joint For You (iLike) (buy)
    2. Danny Wilson – I Can’t Wait (iLike) (buy)
    3. Deep Blue Something – Breakfast At Tiffany’s (iLike) (buy)
    4. Roger Waters – The Tide Is Turning (iLike) (buy)
    5. Chris Difford – Cowboys Are My Weakness (iLike) (buy)
    6. Semisonic – Secret Smile (iLike) (buy)
    7. Reamonn – Just A Day (iLike) (buy)
    8. Marillion – Asylum Satellite #1 (iLike) (buy)
    9. Spiritualized – Medication (live) (iLike) (buy)
    10. Goldfrapp – Utopia (iLike) (buy)

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    December Birdie Songs
    Posted on Dec 4th, 2008 by Alan @ 1:37 pm

    The Birdie Mix - December 2008


    1. Grace Jones – William’s Blood (iLike) (buy)
    2. Marillion – Real Tears For Sale (iLike) (buy)
    3. Frost* – Pocket Sun (iLike) (buy)
    4. Steven Wilson – Harmony Korine (iLike) (buy)
    5. Myslovitz – Zycie To Surfing (iLike) (buy)
    6. Eddie Vedder – Society (iLike) (buy)
    7. Willard Grant Conspiracy – The Great Deceiver (iLike) (buy)
    8. Seth Lakeman – The Bold Knight (iLike) (buy)
    9. Tim And Sam’s Tim And Sam Band With Tim And Sam – The Badger Set (iLike) (buy)
    10. A-Ha – Take On Me (Literal Video Version) (iLike) (buy)

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    November Birdie Songs
    Posted on Nov 5th, 2008 by Alan @ 11:57 am

    I’m clearly not very good at the “blogging about individual songs on a regular basis” thing, so I’ve decided to change the format of MMSLTBS and see how it works out. I’m still going to post daft stuff that I find as individual tracks, and I’ll definitely add more to the Whatever Happened To Jellyfish series as it gives me a real buzz to track down all the bizarre projects they’ve been involved with since Jellyfish broke up, but the mainstream of this site will be a monthly mixtape (just like the short-lived Muxtape project, and using an open source piece of code called Opentape that was inspired by it)

    I’m starting with a top 10 for November. It’s a mixed bag – there’s an amazing track from the new Marillion album in there, a couple of mashups, a crappy Andrew Lloyd Webber track to mark McMaradona’s homecoming on the 19th, and then some plain great tracks that I’ve been listening to a lot recently. Hope you enjoy it!

    The Birdie Mix - November 2008

    NOTE: As it’s no longer November, this playlist isn’t available any more. For info, the tracklist was:

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    This blog is intended as a way to spread the word about music I really like, and encourage others to support artists who are making great music. "Try before you buy", if you like. If you hear something you like here, go and buy it - I'll post links to online shops where you can buy each track I blog about.

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